Emissions waiver should be renewable
I have a 1982 Dodge truck that I keep as an additional vehicle for the rare occasions when I need to haul something excessively large. Although in good condition and well maintained, it has nearly 200,000 miles on it. Without exaggeration, it gets driven maybe once every few months.
It always passed the emissions test, until the new program started. It wasn't too much of a problem that it failed. I spent approximately $200 on it, and it still failed.
At least I could obtain a waiver stating that I had met the required $150 minimum repair attempt. At this point I was happy to be through with it after the inconvenience of shuttling it back and forth.
I realize that it is only a waiver until the next required test. A waiver is acknowledgment that a reasonable effort had been made to comply with the program, but due to the condition or age of the vehicle, it fell short of the standard.
In my case, if the repair effort this time didn't remedy the condition, is it logical to think that it would perhaps heal itself and pass the next time around? Especially when the vehicle will be even older and the emissions requirements tougher?
That means the next time, I'll have to test the vehicle again, fail again and meet the required waiver amount once again. Maybe by then the amount will be raised another $100.
The emissions program by concept is a good thing. It also generates revenue and creates jobs. I can understand that they want the test fee from each registered vehicle when the test is due.
However, when a situation like mine arises, where a waiver is issued, it should be able to be renewable each year or so by simply submitting the required test fee -- not by putting the owner through the whole process again when failing is inevitable.
The key to acceptance by the public is to make something reasonable and logical.
Lake Clifton-Eastern is a fine school
As a parent of a child attending Lake Clifton-Eastern High School, I am disturbed that you chose to identify it in the March 15 headline, ''Lake Clifton-Eastern student shot on way to school.''
All of us in the Baltimore community are horrified that a young man on his way to school was attacked in this cowardly, brutal way.
Our best wishes for a complete and speedy recovery go to him.
But, as a matter of fact, the young man was not shot on school property.
That may be a minor point to you. Identifying the school in the headline, however, serves to further the misconception that there is violence at Lake Clifton-Eastern.
This high school is one of the best-kept secrets in Baltimore.
While I have been impressed with the recent series of stories that have appeared in the Maryland section about local schools, I can only hope that your reporter will visit Lake Clifton-Eastern High School to learn about some of the many innovative programs available to students who want to learn, such as the Finance Academy, the ROTC program, the pre-law program, the Sylvan Learning Center and the Educational Opportunity Program, to name a few.
Some of these programs are city-wide, for which students must apply.
It would be a shame if a current eighth-grader avoided our school due to misconceptions furthered by misleading headlines.
It also does little for the morale of the Lake Clifton-Eastern High School family to see only negative information disseminated about our school.
Carver's tolerance makes a difference
Violence is something that has hit us hard. America has become a dangerous place to live.
As a high school student, I fear violence in my own environment -- the schools. No matter where one lives there are stories of fights, no longer with just fists but with knives and guns. How can we expect to improve as a nation when good young people fear for their lives?
I have found a dramatic change in myself since I entered Carver Center for Arts and Technology, a magnet school in Baltimore County. Here I feel comfortable to be whoever I want to be and safe from violence.
At other schools I've been to, people would rip down art work and threaten any person who is not like them. Carver is different because it is full of people who did not fit into ''normal'' high school life. There has been only one fight at Carver in three years, a fact that I believe is directly related to this tolerance.
People try to protect their children by living in areas that suit their money and race, but it doesn't solve anything. The only way our schools are going to be safe is if we accept differences.
I encourage people from different environments to come together, then they can no longer form stereotypes on the basis of race or money; they will learn every person is different. Carver students are respected because of their abilities and effort, not who has the biggest weapon or is the strongest.
Memories of Wallace playing the piano